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How to Use Photos, Video and Visual Branding for Your Small Business

There was a time when an ad in the local paper would do the trick for your Spring marketing campaign.

Maybe put out a couple of lawn signs around the neighborhood?

And... presto chango! You were booked up.

But times, well … they’ve changed.

Not only will the majority of your marketing efforts be focused online, all of your marketing will require visuals.

And as a service business in 2020, the better visuals you have, the more you will stand out from the competition and gain the trust of potential customers.

Hands down.

Stick with me for this read because you’ll quickly see why visuals are your ticket to surpassing the competition plus how you (no matter how technologically challenged) can knock your marketing out of the park with your photos, videos and other visual content.

Let’s do it.

Why is visual branding so important for your small business?

From a psychological perspective, visuals are critical for your small business marketing efforts because humans care about other humans.

Your human customers are interested in you, your business, your work, your team - all of it.

This human connection or ability to paint a picture of your business for potential customers will help them build trust and make purchasing decisions.

Here’s an example. Have you ever wondered why real estate agents put their faces on all their marketing?

Yes, it’s about branding but it’s also about trust.

Showing your face means you have nothing to hide and potential customers will see the integrity in that. They can connect with that.

I’m not suggesting you plaster selfies everywhere. But, your customers will be more likely to connect with and trust your business if you market it using quality visuals of you and your business.

From a practical standpoint, brand visuals are needed for all kinds of marketing efforts and in some cases are the preferred type of content.

5 important marketing examples that you will need brand visuals for:

1. Your company logo: Your logo is part of your visual branding, and if you haven't updated or refreshed your logo since 1999, it is time.

Your logo is one of the most frequently used aspects of your visual branding, and when people see it you want them to immediately connect with and remember your business.

If hiring a designer is not in the budget, here are some resources to help you bring your logo up to date:

It's also worth noting that your logo can be integrated into your other visual assets, like your photos or videos in the form of a watermark.

2. Your website: There are 3 main parts of your website where imagery is important to show customers about yourself and the services you offer.

  • Hero image: this is the very top of your website; the first thing people see when they land on your site. Based on our research, in the hero section of your website, an image of the services you perform works best.
  • Services: In the services section of your website you should include images of your work to balance the written description of the services offered. This will also provide visual proof to your website visitors.
  • About us: In the “About Us” portion of your website you will want to use images of yourself and your team. And if it’s a family-run business, we suggest  including a picture of the family here as well. This will give customers a chance to see who the people behind the business are and what the owners value.

3. Reviews: Adding photos to your reviews helps illustrate to future customers that you do quality work.

Just as your reviews *tell* new customers why others vouch for and trust your business, photos *show* them. Reviews + photos are a powerful combination to attract new business. Here are some examples:

Bruce Rubio review left for NiceJob
Philip Sweeney review left for NiceJob

4. Google My Business: Before we continue, if you do not have a Google My Business page, here’s how you can get your GMB page set up. It’s important - don’t skip this.

Google My Business pages pop up anytime someone searching the internet makes a query. Any photos attached to your GMB page will provide a first impression for customers searching and are an excellent way to boost SEO.

Be sure to add great photos to your GMB page that will showcase your company at its best. This will help build immediate trust among people searching for your services.

Did you know you can automatically post photos to your GMB page from your NiceJob account?

5. Social Media: Whether you’re using a social media platform to build brand awareness or are actively advertising on social media - you will, without a doubt, need solid visuals.

Twitter is the only text-focused social media platform - the rest, the ones you’re likely using to promote your small business, are visual-heavy.

Facebook, YouTube and Instagram all rely on good photos, videos, and graphics.

Here are some of my favourite small businesses killing their visual branding:

If you’re interested in diving into using social media to impress your customers, start here.

How do you get killer visuals to use in your marketing?

We’re going to work our way through the simple solutions first, and move to the more advanced stuff that will require more commitment.

1. Taking photos and videos yourself
You can absolutely take good quality photos using your phone, you just have to remember to take the time to do it.

  • I suggest getting familiar with the timer on your camera. Most have a 10 second count-down, so you can position it and get in the shot - even if you’re the only person on-site.
  • Invest in a tripod that has flexible legs. These are very handy for wrapping around sturdy objects and positioning your camera in just the right spot.
  • Play with the features on your phone’s camera - experiment with video, slow motion, time lapse and night mode. They may all come in handy when getting the perfect shot of your team or work.
  • You can always try a photo tool, like CompanyCam, which has some great features for taking photos of your work.
     
  • Or a video tool, such as lumen5, that can help you create easy video content.

2. Creating graphics:
Graphics are any images you create, from memes to advertisements. And there are simple ways to create awesome graphics without breaking the bank or needing a degree.

Here are some examples of graphics made by fellow service businesses:

This graphic was used to spread awareness about a live video on how to clean your chimney.

graphic from Absolute Duct and Chimney of a fireplace
Photo via Absolute Duct & Chimney

This graphic was used to showcase a business value.

graphic from Pro Plumbing with brand value
Photo via Pro Plumbing

And this example was used to highlight a service and a job well done. The background is a nod to the company’s branding.

graphic designed by soap and sea soft wash
Photo via Soap and Sea Soft Wash

If you are looking to create graphics for your small business, we suggest a free tool called Canva. It’s a drag-and-drop format that’s easy to use.

If you aren’t crazy about DIY, you may want to consider hiring a freelance graphic designer. You can ask them to create templates that you can use thereafter or have the graphic designer create graphics for you on an ongoing basis, budget permitting.

Here are some resources for hiring freelance help:

3. Call in the pros. Hire a professional photographer or videographer.

There are instances where you will want to have professional photography taken.

The images on your website, for instance, are a great place to have high quality, high resolution images or video.

Photos of the owner(s) and team may also be a place to invest in quality headshots and group shots.

And/or professional photographers or videographers can accompany you to a site (safety and permission permitting) to capture the team at work.

Here’s some examples of companies who have used professional photography in all the right places on their website:

Image taken from Pristine Cleaning Co. website designed by Convert
Photo via Pristine Cleaning Co.

Hero Image from Urban Street Window Works, designed by Convert
Photo via Urban Street Window Works

As a small business in the service industry, you have an excellent opportunity to distinguish your business from the competition if you start to invest in brand visuals.

This means taking photos and video of your work, the team, special tools - all of it - and start using these visual assets to market your business.

Potential customers will be better able to trust your business and pick you over the competition.

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